Monday, June 20, 2011
GRAND FIR AND NOBLE FIR
Walking down the Enterance Trail into Pine Hollow Arboretum the shapes of green pines and fir trees open up like gateways to the rich vistas and arranged plantings. As you learn more about the trees on display, the interesting sights take on a more informed aspect. An example are the two matched fir trees growing closely together where the downslope flattens out at the end of the hill Enterance Trail. They are the Grand Fir (Abies grandis) to the left and growing within the Grand Fir's spreading branches, a different fir trunk, the Noble Fir (Abies procera). Arboretum founder and planter John Abbuhl allows that the two trees could of been placed with more distance between them but as they stand they illustrate the famous Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare". Both Firs were planted at the same time. The largest of all firs, the Grand Fir can grow 300 ft. tall. It is a very quick grower and at the Arboretum it dwarfs its fir partner. The Grand Fir is not long lived according to John, with a life span of about 250 years. Next to it, the Noble Fir grows second largest of any fir and lives to a thousand years. The Noble Fir will be standing tall and growing for many hundred years while the Grand Fir next to it will be fallen, decayed and returned to the earth.